Day +5: Window of opportunity
It’s been a while since I’ve said this, but we had a good day! Though we’ve had glimpses throughout the days, I can officially say that today, as a whole, was good. The highlights include fewer bouts of extreme hiccups, being fever free the entire day, and walking a whopping 20 laps – a vast improvement from yesterday’s three.
Ramón started two planned immunosuppressants today, and we didn’t notice any adverse reactions. He’ll be on one of the meds for about a month (CellCept) and the other for at least 100 days (Prograf). Ramón also started Neupogen injections, which should boost his immune system. It’s an interesting shift because now, instead of actively trying to fight leukemia, the goal is to make sure the cells play nice. The most common post-transplant complication is graft versus host disease (GVHD), a condition where the new cells accidentally start attacking the recipient's healthy cells. Let’s hope that, before we know it, all the cells are singing kumbaya in unison – maybe even harmonizing.
Today Ramón had some nutrition that wasn’t in a bottle labeled Ensure! If you know him, the thought of him not eating is outlandish, but his body has been through the wringer recently. In total, he ate one small slice of a mandarin orange, three pieces of shrimp, a few spoons of sherbet, about an inch of a vanilla milkshake, and four bites of salmon. He also got a med to help remove excess fluid from his body, and he lost 8-9 pounds today. Crazy, huh?
When I was looking out the window, trying to remember what outside air feels like, I saw a helicopter arrive with a patient. I watched as hospital workers in gowns and masks unloaded the person onto a stretcher. Moments like these happen often at the hospital: times where you pause and reflect on how fragile and precious life is. Everywhere I turn, there are reminders that our world can change dramatically in mere seconds.
Around 7:30 p.m., we started hearing tons of sirens outside. We looked out our penthouse window and saw a parade of 100+ police cars, ambulances, and firetrucks, lights flashing and horns honking. We realized it was shift change and that they were thanking the healthcare workers.
The window gives us a glimpse beyond our own world: a dose of perspective.